Ship's log, supplemental: Defiant has returned to Terek Nor - as the station is still known here - and with cloaking device engaged awaits the Alliance fleet which the Master intends to use to invade the Federation. I hope the Doctor has pulled the rabbit out of the hat.
"You are the Kirk?" said Janeway. "From the other side?"
"Other side." Kirk turned to the Doctor. "This is the mirror universe." He's quick, Kira thought.
The Doctor nodded. "On your plane, this woman is a starship captain." Later, too late to ask for elucidation, Kira would realize he'd spoken in present tense.
Kirk nodded and turned back to Janeway. "What's the situation?"
"My Klingon-Cardassian Alliance is invading your Federation," said Janeway. "The Terran resistance might be able to stop it before it starts, if they know you're with us."
"How can we get the word out?" said Kirk. Kira saw the Doctor watching Kirk with the expression he sometimes gave Sisko during a crisis when he thought no one was looking, as if he was listening to a music concert performed by a maestro.
"Getting the word out is our specialty," said Janeway. "But there's only a day and a half to do it."
"Thirty eight point one five hours," said Tuvok.
Kirk turned a grin on him. "I've missed that."
"Interesting that you should say so," said Tuvok. "At the moment -"
Janeway raised her hand sharply, silencing him. Kira had been wrong to think she never smiled. It was a wolfish thing, but there was a genuine if dangerous amusement in it. "I think it's our turn for a surprise." As she spoke there was a tone from a comm on her belt.
"He's here," said Chakotay.
"Who's here?" asked Ace.
"It's an interesting coincidence," said Janeway to Kira, "that Commander Sisko finished his imposture of Captain Sisko by claiming to depart for the Romulan Republic. Since the Empire fell, there's been an advocate of the oppressed peoples pleading to the Romulan Senate constantly. That's who we came here originally to meet." A shuttle of Romulan design dropped out of the sky, landing across from the TARDIS at a point so that the four vehicles marked off a perfect square, Janeway's party standing in the geometric center. Janeway looked up and included Kira and the time travelers in her invitation, "Stick around."
"Sir," said Bashir to Sisko - like all CMOs he seemed not entirely at home on a ship's bridge, though as a department head he had every right to be here - "I suppose it wouldn't be any good suggesting we send through the wormhole for help."
"None," agreed Sisko. "Bringing a single ship over on the Doctor's word - even if it is Defiant - is one thing. Any more ships, and it's the Federation who's invading the Alliance. And that's just not how the Federation does business."
"I had thought your objection would be that there was no time for anyone to get here," Bashir said. "But you're right, of course."
There was a moment's silence on the bridge of Defiant.
"Or," said Dax thoughtfully, "I suppose, Benjamin, you could have said that there was no one to be spared, with the deteriorating Klingon situation."
"Or," O'Brien opined, "that there were no other Starfleet engineers crazy enough to vandalize their ships like I did."
"Or," said Eddington, "that Starfleet doesn't need to encourage sympathy for rebels who hide out in the Badlands."
"Or," growled Odo, "that the grank ate their homework."
There were chuckles on the bridge. Some of the tension was dissipated.
"Commander ..." said Odo suddenly.
"Not yet, surely," said O'Brien.
"No, no," said Odo. He sounded confused, or as confused as he ever allowed himself to sound. "It's a wide-beam broadcast."
"More Alliance fleet movements?" Sisko asked.
"No, it's not an Alliance frequency. It's a public frequency."
"Those aren't used here," said Bashir.
"Origin's untraceable," said Odo. "Whoever did this is a genius with the circuitry. ... It's just a wide-beam boosted-range prerecorded transmission in clear, that looped twice - so no one could miss it, I suppose."
"Let's see it," Sisko rumbled. "On screen."
It lasted less than ten seconds, and left the bridge decked in an entirely different flavor of tension.
"If I was in the resistance," said Bashir, "I couldn't resist."
At the rebel base in the Badlands, Smiley O'Brien watched the signal once. He watched it again. He stared at the screen for five minutes, and then watched it a third time.
When Bashir and Dax came in he said, "I found out where Tuvok went."
"Captured?" asked Dax.
"Better be good, then!" said Bashir.
"Pretty good," said Smiley.
"Intendent!" the intercom barked. "To Ops! Now!!"
Kira popped out of bed at the Master's voice, too frightened for even a thought at the irony of being awakened on his account twice in twenty-six hours. She was out the door and leading her Klingon escort down the corridor before she realized Jean-Luc had vanished since she'd drifted off.
When she arrived at Ops the Master was standing at room center positively incensed. Kira had thought Farnor was scared of her this morning - all the Cardassians on duty now as well as all the Klingon sentries looked in fear for their lives, as of an approaching natural disaster.
Before the turbolift was even level with Ops the Master pointed at her and shouted, "You allowed the rebel to get away with the fleet orders!"
Kira tried not to tremble and to match his tone. "You said there was nothing Smiley could do even if he knew what they meant!"
The Master shook his fist at her in frustration. Dimly Kira realized that were it truly herself he was angry with, Garak already would have her in chains or worse. Not that that meant she was safe.
"See what your sloppiness has brought about!" The Master signaled abruptly at the tactical station. The Cardassian on duty responded smartly without any apparent jitters despite the expression on his face.
A prerecorded message appeared on the screen. The first thing Kira noticed was her counterpart from the other side. Standing with her were the two space tramps who had helped Smiley escape the station yesterday - the little guy seemed to be the real object of the Master's anger. No, his hatred. With them were three more rebels; one a Vulcan, another an obvious escapee from Yosemite Camp with their tatoo on his forehead.
All these people, however, were standing in the background. Two other figures dominated the screen, one a middle-aged but vigorous-looking Terran Kira didn't recognize. But the other -
The other was the former Commander-in-Chief of the fallen Empire, in exile on Romulus all these years. The other was Spock.
"Kirk is back," said Spock. "Meet us at Terek Nor." Then the screen went blank.
END OF CHAPTER 5
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